Wednesday, January 5, 2011

It's still all about horses!

(Now with the trip over, I've arranged the posts in chronological order.)
January 9th, 2011
I arrived in New Zealand on New Year’s Eve.  A long and un-eventful three plane trip with 20 hours in the air and 10 hours in layover time. I watched the New Zealand film "Boy" on the plane. I recommend it.
The view from the farm.

I'm staying on a farm owned by Brian and Marianna Hayworth near a small town called KatiKati.  We're about two hours drive south of Auckland, the biggest city in New Zealand.  From the farm we look out from the coastline to the east to the mountains to the west.  It's a beautiful location.

I kinda figured that Marianna and Brian would be great people to work for.  Our emails gave me that impression and I’m totally right.  They, and their two sons who are at home are delightful people.  They have a “Home Stay” (Hostel) and Marianna runs a horse program that includes lessons and treks.  I’ve already been involved with both. 

There are seven horses here…all good looking and well behaved.  I’ve ridden three. So far and my favorites are Freedom (on the right), a beautiful pinto with gaits similar to a Tennessee Walker and my most favorite, Snoopy, a very well behaved and smooth gaited bay mare.  I seem to have great luck with bays.

I live in an old (but clean) caravan right next to one of the paddock, so at times I hear horses from my bed…just like in South Africa last summer/winter.  The caravan is right behind their “Home Stay” lodging with includes two bedrooms and a lounge/kitchen which volunteers use as well as guests.  Currently there is another volunteer, Marika, a woman from the Netherlands who also has great horse experience.  We’re having fun working together.

Snoopy and I explore the farm country.

I’ve been riding several times…taking out some guests the other day and fun rides with Markita and Marianna. We can start rides right across the road with trails in the forest that connect to the farm country.  There’s a  lovely stream about ¼ mile down the trail and it’s large enough to swim a horse.

There are beautiful flowers everywhere
Marianna organizes treks, inviting local horse folks for wonderful rides. She calls it "Horses for Fun."

My first trek was to the beach.  For this trek we trucked/trailered our horses to the meeting place on the beach.  There were about 25 people on this ride.

Our group heads out on the Beach

The forest come right up to the coast line.

We also headed inland.  The area has many of these windbreaks. 
 I thought they were really old, but in NZ, thing grow very quickly
 so these were only maybe 30 years old.

Lunch Break before swimming
Marianna swimming on Snoopy!

The second trek was to the south of the “Home Stay” into the farm country.  The pictures speak for the beauty that is all around us.

The farm country around where I live.

An old rural "post office"
The third trek was up into the hills. This was the funnest ride so far. Again, there were about 25 people and the guide for this trek upstaged me by being 79 years old! The vast open spaces are SO beautiful.  The pictures say it even better….
Getting ready for the trek.

Heading out

This beautiful fir tree is only  50 or so years old. 
I found that hard to believe, but that's what the locals told me!



30 years ago, I met a fellow, Paul Gillingwater from New Zealand while I was working for the Krotona Institute in Ojai, California.  Paul and I, along with another fellow, Craig Burkus had great fun hanging out together. So when I decided to come to NZ, I was able to track Paul down.  He and his wife now live in Vienna and both work for the United Nations there. 
View of the Auckland Bridge from the (hopefully) dormant volcano cone.

But as fortune would have it, he was here for the Holidays and we met in Auckland for a great reunion.  They were staying at the Theosophical Society headquarters in Auckland…a lovely old building quite near to downtown.  In fact I’m going to stay there as I leave New Zealand at the end of February.

I’m feeling pretty lucky (again)…I’ve found myself a great place for another adventure.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

It's still all...well mostly about horses....

I'm into week four at the horse farm.  And while it’s still about horses, this last few weeks have been about a lot of other stuff too.

  We’ve been to the beach several times.  The other day, we took a wonderful hike to a beautiful and private beach.  It took us about an hour to get there and we went through some beautiful natural forests.   
These fern trees are everywhere...I love them.

Marianna loves these trees too!

Marika and I and a fabulous view!

 When we got to the beach,  we shared it, at most, with four or five others…and the beach was at least a mile long. 

                      It was deliciously hot.

I decided to take the train to Wellington.

Wellington is at the south end of the North Island and is their capitol.  The train goes through some beautiful country. 

One of the stops was at a ski town…which since it is summer was pretty dead, but I think it might be where my friend Mike Power hung out years ago when he ski patrolled here. 
I think the ski area is on this mountain (valcano) called Ngaruhroe .

It was cold when I got to Wellington…probably about 55 and windy.  But, while it didn’t really clear up, by the next day it was warmer and the wind had died down.

There's a great cable car here....

When the two shall meet.....
I'm not the only one who likes swimming...
But for me it was a bit too cold.
I took this pix for Woody.

The Te Papa Tongarewa Museum here was wonderful...
I spent most of a day there.

     Of course there have been more rides….in some beautiful country.

Snoopy and I have a swim!
And aside from having a swimming pool right here at the farm, there’s a wonderful swimming hole about a half mile away.

Macy and I having fun...
We had six inches of rain the last couple of days and the swimming hole became a raging river!

My swimming rock is under water!

Next week we go on our (my) first three day trek....what fun.